Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Informatievaardigheden mbo-groen : Zoeken, evalueren en gebruiken van informatiebronnen in het groene onderwijs.
    Harmelen, M.J. van; Genderen, R.A. van; Smithuis, Justine - \ 2019
    Wageningen : Groen Kennisnet
    information literacy - information retrieval - databases - internet - textbooks - skills - agricultural education - information technology - usage - intermediate vocational training - teachers

    Information technologies and your holiday | WURcast
    Pellis, A. - \ 2019
    Wageningen : WURcast
    information technology - internet - information theory - decision making
    Aligning business processes and IT of multiple collaborating organisations
    Kassahun, Ayalew - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): A.J.M. Beulens; B. Tekinerdogan. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463432108 - 172
    information technology - businesses - business management - cooperation - organizations - informatietechnologie - bedrijven - bedrijfsmanagement - samenwerking - organisaties

    When multiple organisations want to collaborate with one another they have to integrate their business processes. This requires aligning the collaborative business processes and the underlying IT (Information Technology). Realizing the required alignment is, however, not trivial and is the subject of this thesis.

    We approached the issue of alignment in three steps. First, we explored business-IT alignment problems in detail in a real-life business case. This is done in order to clarify what alignment of business processes and IT systems across a collaboration network entails. Second, we provided a business-IT alignment framework called BITA* (pronounce bita-star). The framework provides modelling abstractions for alignment. Third, we applied the framework in two real-life case studies, including the real-life business case used in step one. By applying the framework in practice we showed that the framework can, in fact, help to address the business-IT alignment problems that we identified in the first step.

    The work presented in this thesis is conducted over a number of years in the context of four large EU sponsored research projects. The projects focused on alignment problems in two very distinct application areas. Two projects were about realizing transparency systems for meat supply chains and constitute the first case study. The other two projects were about realizing multidisciplinary modelling collaboration systems and constitute the second case study. Although the projects were conducted sequentially the research questions were addressed iteratively over the years. The research methodology that shows how the framework is designed and how the case studies are applied is discussed in detail in chapter 2.

    In chapter 3 we present BITA*, a Business-IT Alignment framework for multiple collaborating organisations. The main challenges in designing BITA* have been what models to consider for alignment and how to compare them in order to make explicit statements about alignment. We addressed this problem by introducing allocation and alignment modelling constructs to help the alignment process, and the concept of business collaboration model to represent the models that have to be aligned. We identified three groups of stakeholders for whom we designed explicit design viewpoints and associated allocation and alignment models. The Business Process to Business Process (BP2BP) alignment viewpoint is designed for business analysts who have to align diverse business collaboration process models. The IT to IT (IT2IT) alignment viewpoint is designed for software architects to align the distribution of data and IT systems across a collaboration network. The Business Process to IT (BP2IT) alignment viewpoint is designed for an interdisciplinary team of business analysts and software architects who have to align the different ways of supporting business collaboration processes with distributed IT system.

    An essential element of this thesis has been elaborating how business-IT alignment problems occur in the context of multi-organisational collaboration. The case studies were used to demonstrate business-IT alignment concerns. Particularly, the details of the first case study presented in chapters 4 and 5 were used in chapter 3 to help derive the alignment framework. The case study presented an ideal problem scenario since realizing transparency across supply chains is intrinsically a collaborative effort. The second case study was used to enhance the validity of our approach. The results of the second case study are presented in chapter 6.

    The alignment framework was designed during the iterative process we followed when realizing a generic transparency system for meat supply chains. To realize the required generic transparency system we needed a reference architecture. To derive the reference architecture we adapted an already existing and broadly-accepted generic reference architecture. We have to adapt the generic reference architecture in order to address specific requirements of the meat sector that were not considered in the generic reference architecture. The adaptation process made it clear that we needed models for representing business collaborations. We, therefore, introduced the notion of business collaboration model, which we used both to model reference architectures and to adapt them. Adaptation required aligning the generic reference architecture with the diverse business collaboration models adopted by the organisations that have to collaborate. The alignment framework is thus used for adapting a generic reference architecture in order to create a reference architecture that the collaborating organisations can, and are willing to, adopt.

    We identified three types of business collaboration models: business collaboration process model, business collaboration IT model, and a model for representing the relationship between these two. A business collaboration process model is a business process model that spans a collaboration network. A business collaboration IT model is a model of the distribution of the IT across the collaboration network. A business collaboration process-IT model is a model of the relationships between the elements of the business collaboration processes and the elements of the distributed IT.

    Each organisation is considered to adopt its own business collaboration models. For instance, different actors in meat supply chains have different views on how chain-wide transparency should be realized. Which business processes and IT systems each organisation has to deploy and use depends on the business collaboration models each food operator adopts. If two different food operators adopt the same set of business collaboration models, they are aligned; otherwise they are misaligned. Hence, alignment entails comparing the different business collaboration models adopted by the participating organisations. The results of the alignment process are explicit statements about how convergent or divergent the organisations are from the chosen generic reference architecture. The explicit statements of alignment guide how best the generic and the corresponding organisational business collaboration models can be adapted to create a better state of alignment.

    To further enhance the validity of the overall approach the second case study was conducted. The second case study was a retrospective investigation of two past research projects focusing on aligning environmental modelling processes and IT systems. A retrospective case study was chosen because launching a new business-IT alignment project involving multiple collaborating organisations was not feasible. The projects were undertaken to support the European Water Framework Directive, which mandated, among other things, participatory, multidisciplinary, river-basin wide and model-based studies to manage the water resources of Europe. The directive particularly required a collaborative approach to building environmental decision support systems and to deriving methodologies for applying existing decision support systems. We applied BITA* to aligning environmental modelling processes and IT systems in order to evaluate the suitability of the framework to addressing alignment problems in other application areas.

    The contributions of the thesis are summarized in chapter 7. The contributions include a number of design artefacts, which can be grouped into four categories: constructs, models, methods, and instantiations. The contribution in the first category includes the conceptualization of allocation and alignment. The contributions in the second category include allocation and alignment models, and reference architectures. Allocation models are representations of business collaboration models in a form that can be compared and are the basis for alignment modelling. The main contribution in the third category is the BITA* systematic approach to alignment modelling. The contributions in the fourth category are the software systems developed with the help of the reference architectures.

    Advancement of farming by facilitating collaboration : reference architectures and models for farm software ecosystems
    Kruize, Jan Willem - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Adrie Beulens, co-promotor(en): Huub Scholten; Jacques Wolfert. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462579668 - 242
    farming - information technology - computer software - farms - models - farm management - information systems - landbouw bedrijven - informatietechnologie - computer software - landbouwbedrijven - modellen - agrarische bedrijfsvoering - informatiesystemen

    Since time began, mankind has been threatened by the combination of growing populations and diminishing resources. Present-day, this threat is very pertinent as mankind is challenged by a growing world population that is expected to exceed 10 billion in 2050, while resources diminish. Simultaneously, increase of food production should be accomplished in a sustainable manner as consumers require food to be produced environmentally-friendly. Moreover, consumers require safe food produced in transparent agri-food supply chain networks. Farm enterprises can contribute by advancing their management to increase food production in a sustainable, safe and transparent manner. A well-known advanced farm management style, which is knowledge and information intensive, is precision agriculture. Precision agriculture increases the profitability of crop production, while simultaneously reducing the negative environmental impact by tight monitoring and control, in which applications rates of agricultural inputs are adjusted to local needs. Such advanced farm management requires integrated farm information systems as it is knowledge and information intensive. However, advancement is hindered because of interoperability issues between software systems of multiple vendors. An integrated farm information system, containing components of multiple vendors, is required as single organisations cannot develop all technical solutions and ICT Components (e.g. tractors, implements, FMIS, decision support tools) that farmers require. A global overarching system, developed by a single vendor, that can support all business functions of farmers is therefore neither a feasible nor, from a competitive point of view, a desirable solution in agriculture. To realize farm enterprise integration we combine the approaches ICT Mass Customisation with Best-of-Breed. ICT mass customisation combines advantages of standard and customised software by enabling on-demand configuration of information systems from standard components with standardised interfaces. These ICT components can be supplied by different software vendors, which allow Best-of-Breed solutions. By realization of these approaches farm enterprise integration can improve. A farm enterprise can be an arable farm, livestock farm or horticultural farm. In this thesis we focus on arable farm enterprises.

    To enable farm enterprise integration we have developed six artefacts that are presented in this thesis which are:

    The Reference Architecture of Agricultural Enterprises (RAAgE) 1.0 that can describe farm enterprise architectures in a uniform and efficient manner;

    A problem description, which is a case specific instantiation of RAAgE 1.0 generalized to a generic problem description;

    An ontology that supports communication between collaborating actors and components;

    Reference Architecture for Farm Software Ecosystems that defines generic relationships between actors and components;

    RAAgE 2.0 that is a technical reference model to support configuration of business processes and ICT components, which is based on RAAgE 1.0;

    Prototype software that serves as a proof of concept substantiating that all previous components will provide a solution for integration problems at farm enterprises.

    RAAgE 1.0 supports designing enterprise architectures in a uniform and efficient manner. The reference model is described in a standard modelling language, named ArchiMate, and shows the interrelations between the business, application and technology layers of farm enterprises. The reference model includes an ontology to provide a concise and precise, formal specification of the object system. This is required to have a shared understanding and effective communication between researchers, farmers, software developers and other stakeholders involved. This ontology is used and extended in other parts of our research. The architectural descriptions can depict the relations between farm business processes and the ICT Components used. The model is validated by two experts that have experience in developing reference architectures and models.

    A detailed problem description is created using RAAgE 1.0 to gain insight in the cause and nature of integration problems at farm enterprises. To find these problems a method was developed and applied in a case study research including three arable farm enterprises producing potatoes. These farm enterprises focused on improving their management and invested in new technologies for innovation. Within multiple steps of the method the architectural descriptions developed with RAAgE 1.0 facilitated communication and provided insight into problems of farm enterprises to achieve more advanced farm management. The case specific problems, described by instantiating RAAgE 1.0, have been analysed and formulated as more generic problems for farm enterprise integration. These generic problem descriptions have been validated with national and international experts. Based on this research we found that the cause and nature of current integration problems in farming are that ICT components used within the same farm enterprise:

    have partly overlapping and partly unique application services, functions and interfaces (that are non-standard);

    are missing required application services, functions and interfaces,

    have disjoint data repositories;

    have inadequate and incomplete data exchange as semantics are not unambiguously defined;

    are hard to configure while this configuration is not supported by an actors and tools.

    A design, addressing these problems is expected to solve current integration bottlenecks. First, this design must enable smooth data handling and seamless data exchange between ICT Components to solve inadequate and incomplete data exchange and enable integration of data repositories of multiple vendors. Second, it must include a configuration approach to link ICT Components to each other in a meaningful and coherent way. This should be supported by actors that are willing to configure ICT Component of multiple vendors into an integrated solution. Third, the design must enable the formation of a software enterprise to address the previous points and to organize collaboration between actors involved. This software enterprise should focus both on improving interoperability to contribute in solving problems with partly overlapping and partly unique application services, functions and interfaces as well as on organizing the development of missing application services, functions and interfaces.

    To address these integration challenges a Reference Architecture for Farm Software Ecosystems and RAAgE 2.0 were developed, focusing on both technical and organizational aspects.

    From literature we found that collaboration can take place within Software Ecosystems. Software Ecosystems are defined as the interaction of a set of actors on top of a common technological platform that results in a coherent set of ICT components or Services. They can provide an effective way to construct large software systems on top of a software platform by combining components, developed by actors that are part of different organisations. To support instantiation of Software Ecosystems for farming, a Reference Architecture was developed. This Reference Architecture describes how software developers, farmers and other stakeholders can collaborate to enable development, configuration and instantiation of integrated software solutions. More specifically, it can be used to map, assess, design and implement Farm Software Ecosystems to help to decrease current integration problems. The reference architecture comprises five main components:

    Actors, which are basically app developers, business architects/software developers and end-users, i.e. farmers that finally use the configured ICT components and services;

    Platform that enables configuration of Atomic Application Components into integrated information systems for farmers;

    Open software enterprise that manages the relation between the actors and the platform;

    Business services that support software configuration, development and hosting;

    ICT Components that are configured application components from multiple vendors allowing seamless data exchange based on standards

    After the design the reference architecture was first verified based on the requirements. Second, semi-structured interviews were held with experts to validate the model. Moreover, the assessment and mapping functionally was validated by using the reference architecture in a case study, in which two existing farm software ecosystems were assessed and mapped.

    The Reference Architecture for Farm Software Ecosystems mainly addresses the organizational part of this research question. The technical part on the configuration of different ICT components into integrated solutions was not yet sufficiently covered in the Reference Architecture for Farm Software Ecosystems. Therefore we designed RAAgE 2.0 to improve the integrating capabilities of ICT Components, focussing on configuration and ICT Mass Customisation. In this research RAAgE 1.0 was extended into RAAgE 2.0 supporting technical aspects related to configuration of ICT Components by providing a hierarchical configuration methodology. This methodology divides configuration in two steps (i) business process configuration and (ii) software configuration. To enable business process configuration the model comprises three reference models, i.e. on products, processes and resources. The dependencies between these models are defined in rules that define possible combinations of products, processes and resources and that constrain the configuration of farm-specific models i.e. instances. The reference model also includes a configuration tree and templates. Templates describe a set of pre-configured product, process and resource models for typical cases. Variety in farm business processes can be modelled with business process variants. Such a variant realizes a similar kind of business services (e.g. basic fertilization, precision fertilization). Each variant has partly overlapping business processes and resources and unique ones. RAAgE 2.0 provides insight into these specific and generic parts. The other part of the methodology, software configuration, is divided in two additional sub-steps. The first sub-step is to create configuration templates that describe the required (generic) application services (capability types) to support specific business process variants. These configuration templates describe the interactions between the capability types. This sub step is typically performed by a business architect in close collaboration with software developers. The second sub-step is the selection and configuration of the specific capability of a capability type. Capabilities can be offered by atomic application components of multiple vendors that need to be selected. This second sub-step is performed by a business architect, in close collaboration with a farmer. With this extension RAAgE 2.0 supports (i) development of ICT components that fit within an ICT Mass Customisation and Best-of-Breed approach, (ii) selection of ICT components based on business processes that they should support and (iii) getting insight into configuration of different ICT components into an integrated farm information system.

    To substantiate that our artefacts contribute to realizing ICT Mass Customisation in combination with Best-of-Breed in arable agriculture a proof of concept was developed. A proof of concept is defined as a phase in development, in which experimental hardware or software is constructed and tested to explore and demonstrate the feasibility of a new concept. Realizing ICT Mass Customisation requires: (i) software modularity, (ii) an information integration platform, (iii) component availability, (iv) configuration support and (v) reference information models. To fulfil these requirements a design was developed and instantiated for a specific use case on late blight protection in potato growing for a specific farmer in The Netherlands. For that purpose we:

    configured the business processes that are involved in late blight protection using RAAgE 2.0 to identify which advanced ICT components are needed to support this process for this farmer;

    developed the required advanced ICT components that were identified in the previous step using the FIspace platform. These components were provided by different app developers from 5 different European countries;

    configured a composite application component within the FIspace platform using the configuration framework of RAAgE 2.0. This included involvement of 5 different European organizations;

    instantiated and executed the application component within the FIspace platform for this specific farmer.

    This resulted in prototype software that showed how we can configure business processes and multi-vendor atomic application components into a composite component to support late blight protection in potatoes for a specific farmer. It was made plausible that this approach is also applicable to other cases to create software able to support other business processes in agriculture.

    Within this research we developed artefacts and substantiated that they facilitate collaboration between the actors involved and can help to develop ICT Components that improve farm enterprise integration. Still, to make ICT Mass Customisation and Best-of-Breed a more common practice, future research is required. In this research we recommend to focus on:

    Development of business models to gain insight into the motives of software developers to become part of Farm Software Ecosystems. Insight into these motives can enhance the adoption of Software Ecosystems for agriculture, which makes the concept of ICT Mass Customisation more feasible.

    Improving configuration of atomic application components and supporting tools as this is currently still cumbersome. We recommend focussing on one specific case to dig into all details of the case. Such a detailed description will be re-usable for many other farm business processes such as fertilization, other types of crop protection, seeding and harvesting.

    Although, there are still hurdles to take we recommend continuing this research line as it can result in improved farm enterprise integration and adoption of advanced farm management styles by famers. This can enable farm enterprises to increase food production, while producing in a sustainable, safe and transparent manner.

    Big data analysis for smart farming : Results of TO2 project in theme food security
    Kempenaar, C. ; Lokhorst, C. ; Bleumer, E.J.B. ; Veerkamp, R.F. ; Been, Th. ; Evert, F.K. van; Boogaardt, M.J. ; Ge, L. ; Wolfert, J. ; Verdouw, C.N. ; Bekkum, Michael van; Feldbrugge, L. ; Verhoosel, Jack P.C. ; Waaij, B.D. ; Persie, M. van; Noorbergen, H. - \ 2016
    Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research (Wageningen Plant Research report ) - 82
    animal production - milk production - farming - data analysis - data collection - information technology - models - dierlijke productie - melkproductie - landbouw bedrijven - gegevensanalyse - gegevens verzamelen - informatietechnologie - modellen
    In this report we describe results of a one-year TO2 institutes project on the development of big data technologies within the milk production chain. The goal of this project is to ‘create’ an integration platform for big data analysis for smart farming and to develop a show case. This includes both technical (hard/software) and organizational integration (developing business ecosystem) and combining and linking of data and models. DLO, NLR and TNO worked together in 2015 towards the realization of an IT data infrastructure that makes it possible to solve to connect data from different sources and models in an effective and safe way, ontology problems, specific analysis tools develop, opportunities and risks to identify and assess the acquired knowledge and experience and present it in a smart farming show case, from 'grass to glass‘.
    Kusheh, na minem Fatu, en mi na koko farmer Hello, I am Fatu and I am a cocoa farmer : a Digital Farmer Field School for training in cocoa production and certification in Sierra Leone
    Witteveen, L.M. ; Goris, Margriet ; Lie, R. ; Ingram, V.J. - \ 2016
    Wageningen : Wageningen UR Science Shop (Report /Wageningen UR, Science Shop 330) - ISBN 9789462577657 - 44
    agricultural extension - cocoa - farmers - information technology - sierra leone - landbouwvoorlichting - cacao - boeren - informatietechnologie - sierra leone
    This document reports on the development of a prototype Digital Farmer Field School (DFFS) called Kusheh, na minem Fatu, en mi na koko farmer (“Hello, I am Fatu and I am a cocoa farmer”). The DFFS provides an ICT-based alternative to traditional agricultural extension. More specifically, it offers a tablet-based substitute for the face-to-face certification training for cocoa farmers in Sierra Leone. The fact that gatherings of more than five people at a time were not allowed as a consequence of the Ebola outbreak triggered the development of the digital alternative to group training for cocoa farmers.
    Smart Dairy Farming : de stand van zaken
    Lokhorst, Kees - \ 2015
    dairy cattle - lifespan - animal welfare - sustainable animal husbandry - information technology - sensors - monitoring - animal production

    De levensduur van een koe verlengen. Dat is een van de doelen waarmee Smart Dairy Farming zes jaar geleden van start ging. Nu is deel 1 voltooid en lijken de resultaten voor zowel de melkveehouders als de adviseurs veelbelovend.

    Smartphone controleert koeien op doping
    Versluis, K. ; Ludwig, S.K.J. ; Sterk, S.S. - \ 2015
    WageningenWorld (2015)4. - ISSN 2210-7908 - p. 32 - 33.
    melkveehouderij - rundveehouderij - hormonen - informatietechnologie - innovatie adoptie - monitoring - dairy farming - cattle husbandry - hormones - information technology - innovation adoption - monitoring
    RIKILT Wageningen UR heeft een methode ontwikkeld voor het opsporen van verboden hormonen bij koeien. Een klein meetapparaatje kan samen met een smartphone op de boerderij bepalen of een boer zijn dieren het verboden hormoon rbST geeft.
    Precisielandbouw buiten stal: GrasMais-Signaal : Gezonde Veehouderij 2023
    Philipsen, Bert - \ 2015
    precision agriculture - grasslands - dry matter - milk production - sensors - information technology - dairy farming
    DaVinc³i : overzicht
    Vorst, Jack van der - \ 2015
    ornamental horticulture - agricultural trade - logistics - supply chain management - international trade - telecommunications - electronic commerce - information technology - strategic management - agro-industrial chains
    DaVinc³i: sierteeltlogistiek in een dynamische eeuw : van onderbuik naar onderbouwing
    Vorst, J.G.A.J. van der; Ossevoort, R.S. - \ 2015
    DaVinc³i - 46
    sierteelt - logistiek - ketenmanagement - agro-industriële ketens - informatietechnologie - internationale handel - strategisch management - agrarische productiesystemen - landbouwkundig onderzoek - telecommunicatie - elektronische handel - ornamental horticulture - logistics - supply chain management - agro-industrial chains - information technology - international trade - strategic management - agricultural production systems - agricultural research - telecommunications - electronic commerce
    In het DaVinc³i (Dutch Agricultural Virtualized International Network with Consolidation, Coordination, Collaboration and Information availability) onderzoek deden drie Nederlandse universiteiten en een groot aantal bedrijven strategisch onderzoek naar deelgebieden van de sierteeltlogistiek. Die deelgebieden zijn: samenwerking/ businessmodellen, logistieke netwerken, retourlogistiek/plannen en ICT in de sector. Bij veel bedrijven is concreet en strategisch onderzoek gedaan op basis van onderzoeksvragen op bedrijfsniveau. Dit boekje verhaalt, in een aantal interviews, eerst over de algemene strategische onderzoeken en de daaruit voortvloeiende scenario’s. Daarna komt de bedrijfspraktijk aan de orde. De volgende vragen kwamen hierbij aan de orde: Met welke logistieke ketens en afzetketens krijgt de sierteeltsector in de toekomst te maken? Welke functies en processen zijn aan die ketens verbonden? Waar kun je die functies geografisch gezien het best uitoefenen? Hoe ondersteun je dat optimaal met ICT-toepassingen en businessmodellen? Wat betekent dit alles voor de sierteeltlogistiek?
    Gouden driehoek? : discoursanalyse van het topsectorenbeleid
    Haas, W. de; Assche, K.A.M. van; Pleijte, M. ; Selnes, T. - \ 2014
    Wageningen : Alterra, Wageningen-UR (Alterra-rapport 2581) - 75
    economisch beleid - discoursanalyse - tuinbouw - energiebeleid - informatietechnologie - innovaties - economic policy - discourse analysis - horticulture - energy policy - information technology - innovations
    In 2011 is de Nederlandse overheid gestart met het Topsectorenbeleid voor de Nederlandse economie. In deze studie is geanalyseerd hoe dit beleid zich de eerste jaren heeft gevormd. Het topsectorenbeleid kan worden opgevat als een coalitie tussen drie discoursen. In trefwoorden weergegeven zijn deze drie: Ruimte voor ondernemers, Gouden Driehoek en ‘Backing winners’. Voor de topsectoren Tuinbouw & Uitgangsmaterialen en Energie is beschreven hoe het samenspel tussen deze drie discoursen is verlopen. Daarnaast is een vergelijking gemaakt tussen het topsectorenbeleid en ervaringen met innovatiebeleid in de USA en Vlaanderen. De analyses wijzen alle op het belang van open netwerken, die verder gaan dan het vestigen van een institutioneel verband tussen ondernemers, overheden en kennisinstellingen. Het project is uitgevoerd in het kader van het kennisbasisonderzoek van Wageningen UR. Het maakt deel uit van het programma ‘Transities in het Landelijk Gebied’ waarin de omslag die momenteel op veel fronten plaatsvindt, wordt gevolgd, geanalyseerd en geduid.
    To boldly go… : designing an agent-based intercultural training tool
    Degens, N. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Adrie Beulens, co-promotor(en): Gert Jan Hofstede. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570979 - 157
    informatietechnologie - modellen - opleiding - interculturele communicatie - information technology - models - training - intercultural communication

    People from all over the world must live and work together in today’s society. Such integration is not always a smooth process, and interactions with people from other cultures may lead to misunderstandings or even outright conflicts.

    In the last few years, researchers and practitioners have been working on creating digital tools that can be used to mediate these misunderstandings and conflicts. These tools typically involve interactions with so-called intelligent agents, i.e. virtual characters that are able to take decisions autonomously, that behave as if they are from another culture. The aim of these interactions is to make potential trainees experience how misunderstandings can shape interactions with and perceptions of people from other cultures.

    In this work, we take the first steps in the design of a digital culture-general training tool to help young adults deal with misunderstandings or conflicts due to differences in culture, through interactions with intelligent agents. We have posed the following design research questions and found the following answers:

    Which concepts are required to describe the design of a digital culture-general training tool involving agents that show culturally varying behaviour?

    The answer to this question can be found in the glossary, which presents the key concepts that have been used in this work to create agents that show culturally varying behaviour and to create scenarios that incorporate these agents to increase the intercultural competence of trainees.

    Can we use theories of culture to create scripted scenarios in which virtual characters behave appropriately for a given culture?

    To answer this question we designed scripted scenarios in which virtual characters show culturally varying behaviour based on a theory of culture. To ensure that the behaviours of these virtual characters were representative of real-life cultural differences, we conducted an evaluation with people from a wide range of cultures. The results show that the dimensions of culture can be used to generate culturally varying behaviour in agents, but that extensive (pre)testing is required to ensure that the underlying intention of the characters’ behaviour aligns with the users’ interpretation of that behaviour.

    Can we identify requirements for sociocultural agents that can help them to make sense of their social world?

    To answer this question we focused on describing important concepts of social interactions based on theories from sociology and psychology. These concepts are incorporated into a conceptual model for socio-cultural agents that can be used to describe their social world. The model differentiates between three levels of analysis: the interaction, the group, and the society. These levels range from being more specific, and thus more visible, to more abstract, and thus less visible, and help us to understand how each level affects interpretation and behaviour.

    Can we create intelligent agents that can vary their behaviour depending on the culture to be simulated?

    To answer this question we described the creation of intelligent agents that show culturally varying behaviour. We use an existing model to create believable social interactions, in which agents attribute, claim, and confer social importance in their interactions with other agents and users. Social importance is a way to measure the importance of a certain individual in the eyes of others. The strength of attribution, claims, and conferrals was varied using cultural modifiers. The generated behaviour of the agents was then evaluated to ensure that the intelligent agents showed behaviour representative of a given culture. The results suggest that it is possible to create intelligent agents that can act out appropriate culturally varying behaviour for a given culture.

    Can we create critical incidents, involving intelligent agents that show appropriate behaviour for given cultures, through which potential trainees become more sensitive to and knowledgeable about differences across cultures?

    To answer this question we focused on applying different methods of intercultural training in the design of a digital culture-general training tool. These methods were incorporated into critical incidents, in which users can interact with intelligent agents. To ensure that the critical incidents led to an attribution of perceived differences in behaviour to specific differences in culture and to (potential) trainees becoming less judgemental of inappropriate behaviours by people from different cultures, the tool was evaluated by two groups of students. The results suggest that it is possible to create agent-based critical incidents to make potential trainees more knowledgeable about differences across cultures.


    The findings to our design research questions represent a set of important contributions to the field.

    First, we have identified and structured important concepts to better understand the design and implementation of socio-cultural agents and the design of critical incidents that involve these agents for intercultural training. Second, we have described and used models that help to define the simulated world of the agents and help them to navigate through that world. Third, we have attempted to systematize the process of creating scenarios involving agents that show culturally varying behaviour through a set of guidelines that need to be met to ensure that the behaviour of socio-cultural characters is properly evaluated. Fourth, besides conceptual elements, we have also created practical implementations that can freely be used and modified by others.

    In our work, we have only taken the first steps in designing a digital culture-general training tool. Additional work on the generalization and validation of the critical incidents and the behaviours of the agents is still required; however, we believe that our results show our approach to be viable. We believe that future work will have to focus on three fields: understanding how trainees can be emotionally engaged in the scenarios, systematizing the process of using model-driven approaches to generate socio-cultural behaviour, and using the design outputs in different contexts and with different people from different cultures.

    Jaarevent ICT-Community 2014 : Digitalisering van de voedselketen
    Verdouw, Cor - \ 2014
    agroindustrial sector - agro-industrial chains - information technology - supply chain management - innovations - food industry - automation
    Management of change through the Internet? : information govenance
    Hoes, A.C. ; Onwezen, M.C. - \ 2014
    Wageningen UR
    governance - consumentengedrag - internet - voedingsmiddelen - informatietechnologie - governance - consumer behaviour - internet - foods - information technology
    This project explores Informational Governance in the domain of agri-food and focusses on how information is exchanged in a specific social media setting and how this influences consumer behaviour and institutional change.
    Applications in computer-assisted biology
    Nijveen, H. - \ 2013
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Ton Bisseling, co-promotor(en): P.E. van der Vet. - Wageningen : Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789461737816 - 106
    bio-informatica - moleculaire biologie - computers - databanken - prokaryoten - computeranalyse - informatietechnologie - bioinformatics - molecular biology - computers - databases - prokaryotes - computer analysis - information technology

    Biology is becoming a data-rich science driven by the development of high-throughput technologies like next-generation DNA sequencing. This is fundamentally changing biological research. The genome sequences of many species are becoming available, as well as the genetic variation within a species, and the activity of the genes in a genome under various conditions. With the opportunities that these new technologies offer, comes the challenge to effectively deal with the large volumes of data that they produce. Bioinformaticians have an important role to play in organising and analysing this data to extract biological information and gain knowledge. Also for experimental biologists computers have become essential tools. This has created a strong need for software applications aimed at biological research. The chapters in this thesis detail my contributions to this area. Together with molecular biologists, plant breeders, immunologists, and microbiologists, I have developed several software tools and performed computational analyses to study biological questions.

    Chapter 2 is about Primer3Plus, a web tool that helps biologists to design DNA primers for their experiments. These primers are typically short stretches of DNA (~20 nucleotides) that direct the DNA replication machinery to copy a selected region of a DNA molecule. The specificity of a primer is determined by several chemical and physical properties and therefore designing good primers is best done with the help of a computer program. Primer3Plus offers a user-friendly task-oriented web interface to the popular primer3 primer design program. Primer3Plus clearly fulfils a need in the biological research community as already over 400 scientific articles have cited the Primer3Plus publication.

    Single nucleotide differences or polymorphisms (SNPs) that are present within a species can be used as markers to link phenotypic observations to locations on the genome. Chapter 3 discusses QualitySNPng, which is a stand-alone software tool for finding SNPs in high-throughput sequencing data. QualitySNPng was inspired by the QualitySNP pipeline for SNP detection that was published in 2006 and it uses similar filtering criteria to distinguish SNPs from technical artefacts like sequence read errors. In addition, the SNPs are used to predict haplotypes. QualitySNPng has a graphical user interface that allows the user to run the SNP detection and evaluate the results. It has already been successfully used in several projects on marker detection for plant breeding.

    Single nucleotide polymorphisms can lead to single amino acid changes in protein sequences. These single amino acid polymorphisms (SAPs) play a key role in graft-versus-host (GVH) effects that often accompany tissue transplantations. A beneficial variant of GVH is the graft-versus-leukaemia (GVL) effect that is sometimes witnessed after bone marrow transplantation in leukaemia patients. When the GVL effect occurs, the donor’s immune cells actively destroy residual tumour cells in the patient. The GVL effect can already be elicited by a single amino acid difference between the patient and the donor. Currently, a small number of SAPs that can elicit a GVL effect are known and these are used to select the right bone marrow donor for a leukaemia patient. Together with researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center I developed a database to aid in the discovery of more such SAPs. We called this database the “Human Short Peptide Variation database” or HSPVdb. It is described in chapter 4.

    The work described in chapter 5 is focused on the regions in bacterial genomes that are involved in gene regulation, the promoters. Intrigued by anecdotal evidence that duplication of bacterial promoters can activate or silence genes, we investigated how often promoter duplication occurs in bacterial genomes. Using the large number of bacterial genomes that are currently available, we looked for clusters of highly similar promoter regions. Since duplication assumes some sort of mobility, we termed the duplicated promoters: putative mobile promoters or PMPs. We found over 4,000 clusters of PMPs in 1,043 genomes. Most of the clusters consist of two members, indicating a single duplication event, but we also found much larger clusters of PMPs within some genomes. A number of PMPs are present in multiple species, even in very distantly related bacterial species, suggesting perhaps that these were subjected to horizontal gene transfer. The mobile promoters could play an important role in the rapid rewiring of gene regulatory networks.

    Chapter 6 discusses how current biological research can adapt to make full use of the opportunities offered by the high-throughput technologies by following three different approaches. The first approach empowers the biologists with user-friendly software that allows him to analyse the large volumes of genome scale data without requiring expert computer skills. In the second approach the biologist teams up with a bioinformatician to combine in-depth biological knowledge with expert computational skills. The third approach combines the biologist and the bioinformatician in one person by teaching the biologist computational skills. Each of these three approaches has it merits and shortcomings, so I do not expect any of them to become dominant in the near future. Looking further ahead, it seems inevitable that any biologist will have to learn at least the basics of computational methods and that this should be an integral part of biology education. Bioinformatics might in time cease to exist as a separate field and instead become an intrinsic aspect of most biological research disciplines.

    Kennis van geodata : onderzoek naar toepassing van web intelligence bij ruimtelijke informatiesystemen
    Verhelst, E.C.H. - \ 2013
    Wageningen : Alterra, Wageningen-UR (Alterra-rapport 2410) - 46
    geoinformatie - internet - kunstmatige intelligentie - informatietechnologie - taal - geoinformation - internet - artificial intelligence - information technology - language
    De sterke toename in de omvang van het Web vraagt om slimme oplossingen die de enorme capaciteit aan gegevens voor ons hanteerbaar en interpreteerbaar maken. Het is de uitdaging van wetenschappers om instrumenten te maken die naadloos aansluiten bij wat onze hersenen op een bepaald moment nodig hebben. Dit rapport doet verslag van een onderzoek naar de mogelijkheden van het toevoegen van meer intelligentie aan bestaande geo-informatiesystemen. Hiervoor is gebruik gemaakt van voorbeelden die al bestaan op het World Wide Web. Deze voorbeelden zijn onder andere het herkennen van de gebruiker en het anticiperen op zijn wensen, het vaststellen van patronen in grote hoeveelheden gegevens en het automatisch beantwoorden van vragen die in gewone taal zijn gesteld. In een drietal Proof of Concepts is gekeken welke methodieken er zijn die hieraan ten grondslag liggen. Op basis hiervan zijn nieuwe onderzoeksmogelijkheden geformuleerd.
    Consumers’ intention to use health recommendation systems to receive personalized nutrition advice
    Wendel, S. ; Dellaert, B.G.C. ; Ronteltap, A. ; Trijp, J.C.M. van - \ 2013
    BMC Health services research 13 (2013). - ISSN 1472-6963
    information technology - intrinsic motivation - privacy concerns - e-commerce - online - model - experiences - trust - perspective - perceptions
    Background: Sophisticated recommendation systems are used more and more in the health sector to assist consumers in healthy decision making. In this study we investigate consumers' evaluation of hypothetical health recommendation systems that provide personalized nutrition advice. We examine consumers' intention to use such a health recommendation system as a function of options related to the underlying system (e.g. the type of company that generates the advice) as well as intermediaries (e.g. general practitioner) that might assist in using the system. We further explore if the effect of both the system and intermediaries on intention to use a health recommendation system are mediated by consumers' perceived effort, privacy risk, usefulness and enjoyment. Methods: 204 respondents from a consumer panel in the Netherlands participated. The data were collected by means of a questionnaire. Each respondent evaluated three hypothetical health recommendation systems on validated multi-scale measures of effort, privacy risk, usefulness, enjoyment and intention to use the system. To test the hypothesized relationships we used regression analyses. Results: We find evidence that the options related to the underlying system as well as the intermediaries involved influence consumers' intention to use such a health recommendation system and that these effects are mediated by perceptions of effort, privacy risk, usefulness and enjoyment. Also, we find that consumers value usefulness of a system more and enjoyment less when a general practitioner advices them to use a health recommendation system than if they use it out of their own curiosity. Conclusions: We developed and tested a model of consumers' intention to use a health recommendation system. We found that intermediaries play an important role in how consumers evaluate such a system over and above options of the underlying system that is used to generate the recommendation. Also, health-related information services seem to rely on endorsement by the medical sector. This has considerable implications for the distribution as well as the communication channels of health recommendation systems which may be quite difficult to put into practice outside traditional health service channels.
    Food micro systems : report on Existing Literature Regarding Consumers' Perception
    Fischer, A.R.H. - \ 2012
    [S.l.] : S.n. - 25
    voedselacceptatie - aanvaardbaarheid - informatietechnologie - literatuuroverzichten - voedseltechnologie - food acceptability - acceptability - information technology - literature reviews - food technology
    This report forms part of the deliverables from a project called "FoodMicroSystems" which has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement n° 287634. The Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of the content of this publication. FoodMicroSystems aims at initiating the implementation of microsystems & smart miniaturised systems in the food sector by improving cooperation between suppliers and users of microsystems for food/beverage quality and safety. The project runs from September 2011 to August 2013, it involves nine partners and is coordinated by ACTIA (Association de Coordination Technique pour l'Industrie Agro Alimentaire, France). More information on the project can be found at
    The role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and vice versa
    Wolfert, Jacques - \ 2012
    information technology - agriculture - future - scenario analysis - information systems - geographical information systems - precision agriculture - computer techniques
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